When Should I Go See a Dentist?

Brunette woman in a dental chair smiles before receiving personalized dental care at Heritage Dental in Katy, TX

In this blog post, we have some tips to help you decide when you should visit Heritage Dental, your trusted dentist in Katy, TX.

Preventive Cleanings & Checkups

Schedule routine cleanings and examinations every six months to help prevent tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues. We’ll also check for oral cancer. Insurance providers will usually cover two visits per year. Plans sometimes cover three visits a year if you are pregnant or have certain health conditions, like heart disease.

Consult with our team at Heritage Dental whether you would benefit from more frequent preventive checkups and cleanings!

Bleeding Gums

If you experience bleeding gums when you brush or floss, you should schedule an appointment. Bloody gums when you brush or floss likely indicate gingivitis, or early-stage gum disease. You want to address this problem as soon as possible to protect your gums from infection.

Tooth Injury

An injury that affects one or more of your teeth is considered a dental emergency. If your tooth is knocked out, get to our office as soon as possible so we can reattach it. A cracked or broken tooth also needs urgent treatment or else your tooth’s inner pulp can become infected by bacteria. This can result in sensitivity, pain, and tooth loss.

Dissatisfaction with Your Smile

Are you unhappy with the appearance of one or more of your teeth? We invite you to consider one of our cosmetic dental procedures. At Heritage Dental, we offer professional teeth whitening and multiple orthodontic solutions. If you’re missing teeth, we offer several tooth replacement options, including bridges, dentures, and dental implants.

Schedule Your Dental Exam in Katy, TX

A routine dental exam will help prevent a range of oral health problems. You should also see a dentist if you are currently suffering from a dental emergency, dental issue, or oral health concern. Contact us today to schedule a dental exam at Heritage Dental in Katy, TX!

Is an Electric Toothbrush Better for My Teeth?

Drawing of a manual toothbrush vs an electric toothbrush against a teal background

Electric toothbrushes are regularly recommended by dental professionals because they deliver a powerful cleaning experience for your teeth with minimal effort. Below, we outline the reasons why you should consider switching to an electric toothbrush from a manual toothbrush.

What Is an Electric Toothbrush?

Electric toothbrushes are toothbrushes that do the heavy lifting for you while you brush. While you should still brush your teeth using gentle circular motions, an electric toothbrush with rapid oscillating, rotating, and pulsating motion easily loosens up plaque and food particles. They must be charged but many hold their charge for a reasonable amount of time and come with portable chargers.

The best kind of electric toothbrush has a timer to ensure that you’re brushing your teeth for the recommended two minutes each time. Others have different cleaning heads, speeds, and Bluetooth connectivity depending on your individual brushing goals.

Benefits of an Electric Toothbrush

Many patients find that an electric toothbrush is more helpful at preventing decay, cavities, bad breath, and gum disease than a manual toothbrush. This is because electric toothbrushes:

  • Make brushing more enjoyable and feel less like work
  • Are excellent for those with grip/dexterity issues or braces that make brushing a challenge
  • Turn off to prevent excess brushing pressure, which could cause gum irritation and enamel damage
  • Encourage brushing for the full two minutes each time

Are Electric Toothbrushes Expensive?

Electric toothbrushes are more expensive than manual toothbrushes. However, there are many high-quality brushes for less than $100. Most patients don’t need all the bells and whistles of the fancier brushes. Keep in mind that you need to replace your brush heads about every three months and after being sick like you would a manual toothbrush.

Consult with Our Team!

Are you considering switching to an electric toothbrush? Heritage Dental, your friendly dentist in Katy, TX, can help you choose an option that’s perfect for your unique smile. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to learn about our comprehensive dental services and modern dental office!

5 Signs You Need to See a Dentist

Brunette man in a gray shirt touches his chin and wonders if he needs to see a dentist in Katy, TX

Do any of the following apply to you? Call Heritage Dental today to schedule an appointment at our dental office in Katy, TX.

1. Tooth Sensitivity

Do your teeth hurt when you drink a hot or cold beverage? That is a prime sign of tooth sensitivity, which can signify multiple issues, including cavities and decay, chipped and cracked teeth, and nerve issues. Whether you need a simple filling or a more extensive restorative procedure, we’re here for you!

2. Bleeding Gums

Are your gums sore and bleeding every time you brush? This is one of the first signs of gingivitis or early-stage gum disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria collects under the gum line, causing your gums to painfully separate from your teeth. At Heritage Dental, we offer gum disease treatment to target your specific needs.

3. Intense Pain

Tooth, gum, and jaw pain are not normal, and you shouldn’t have to live in pain every single day! Pain could stem from a variety of issues, so it’s best to visit your dentist right away to get to the root of the problem. Click here to read more about dental emergencies and how we accommodate emergency appointments at Heritage Dental.

4. You’re Embarrassed By Your Smile

If you’re too embarrassed to show off your smile, it’s time to consider a restorative or cosmetic procedure to help improve the appearance and functionality of your smile. If you are worried about the expense, we’ll work with you to find an affordable solution that fits your budget so you won’t break the bank!

5. It Has Been Six Months or More Since Your Last Checkup & Cleaning

It is strongly recommended that everyone, even those with seemingly healthy smiles, see their dentist at least once every six months to make sure that everything is in great shape. Sometimes only your dentist can spot an abnormality in its early stages, and prevention is most certainly better than cure.

You deserve a healthy and beautiful smile that you can afford to maintain, and we’re here to help you achieve that. Contact Heritage Dental, your dentist in Katy, TX, today to schedule your next appointment.

Types of Dental Implants

Heritage Dental in Katy, TX, offers high-quality restorative dental solutions that help rejuvenate our patients’ smiles, confidence, and quality of life. In this blog post, we provide an overview of dental implants to help you decide if this tooth replacement option is the right choice for you.

What Is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are durable replacements for missing or damaged teeth. Plus, they look and feel natural! First, a small, biocompatible post is implanted into the jawbone. As the area heals, the implant will fuse with the jawbone. Then, this implant is topped with a dental restoration. The dental restoration will depend on how many teeth need replacing.

Types of Dental Implants

At Heritage Dental, we offer single, multiple, and full rows of dental implants to replace any number of missing teeth. To replace one tooth, we’ll create a crown that will be placed on top of the titanium post. Several single implants or an implant-supported bridge can replace multiple missing teeth. For full rows of missing or damaged teeth, custom-made implant-supported dentures can be fixed to the top of the titanium posts. Our team will help you determine the right configuration to give you a full set of firmly rooted teeth that are functional and beautiful.

Compilation of different configurations for dental implants at Heritage Dental in Katy, TX

What to Expect When Getting Dental Implants

Getting dental implants takes multiple appointments. We must first determine whether you are a good candidate for implants by evaluating the health of your jawbone and gums, and discussing your lifestyle, oral hygiene, smile goals, and budget. If you are a good candidate, we can move forward with the implantation process. After you receive your implants, we’ll give you specific post-operative instructions on how to care for your mouth. And when you’re fully healed, we can complete the process by fitting your restorations, which we’ll make sure you find comfortable and satisfactory.

Questions? We Have Answers!

Are you interested in learning more about how dental implants? We would be thrilled to answer your questions. Contact us today.

Implant images from Authority Dental under CC 2.0

Emergency Dentist During Coronavirus Pandemic

MAY 2020 UPDATE: We Are Open for Routine & Emergency Dental Care!

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, our Katy dental office is operating under limited hours for dental emergencies only. The safety and health of our patients, our employees, and our community are our top priorities. We will let you know when we are once again able to provide our patients with the quality care and the safe environment that is a hallmark of our practice.

Queensboro Plaza Dental Care adheres to the strict safety standards recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We have always been extremely mindful of our patients’ health and safety and will be even more vigilant in the future. Rest assured when we do welcome you back that our office and equipment will be thoroughly disinfected.

Protect Yourself & Your Loved Ones From the Coronavirus

We encourage all of our patients to stay informed and to protect themselves and their families from the coronavirus by following the recommendations from the CDC. For example:

  • Practice social distancing. Stay home as much as possible.
  • When it is necessary to go out, keep at least six feet away from others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Always wash your hands after using the bathroom and before eating.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you have just washed your hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then dispose of it.
  • Disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Do not share dishes or utensils.
  • Get adequate rest and eat a healthy diet.
  • Take extra precautions if you are sick to reduce the spread of the disease.
  • Even if you feel healthy, be mindful of the health of others. Some people are asymptomatic when they have the disease and can unknowingly spread it to others.

Keep Brushing & Flossing!

We recognize that many of you are experiencing unprecedented upheavals and challenges in your daily lives and routines. Please take good care of your mental health as well as your physical health and your oral health. We encourage everyone to take some time for positive, uplifting activities to help relieve stress.

Emergency Dentist in Katy, TX

Heritage Dental thanks you for your loyal patronage and regrets the inconvenience our temporary closure will cause to those with scheduled appointments and plans for smile improvements. Our team looks forward to welcoming you again to our office as soon as this crisis with the coronavirus has passed.

If you experience a dental emergency, please call us at 832-437-5895 so we can discuss your specific situation and your options for treatment.

Is Chocolate Good for Your Teeth?

Brunette woman smiles as she eats a piece of dark chocolate in Katy, TX

It’s always a good rule of thumb to limit your candy consumption to protect your teeth. But when you do eat candy, there are certain types of candy that are better than others. Let’s take a look at how chocolate can affect your oral health!

Is Candy Bad for Teeth?

Generally, candy is high in both sugar and calories, and low in beneficial nutrients. The bacteria that live in your mouth thrive off your dietary sugars. So when you eat candy, they have a feast.

As bacteria eat, they produce harmful acids that erode and demineralize your tooth enamel. You can strengthen and remineralize your teeth with daily brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, drinking fluoridated water, and consuming tooth-healthy foods with calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. However, if demineralization outpaces remineralization, you will develop tooth decay and cavities, which are holes in the hard outer layer of teeth, called the enamel.

Therefore, consuming sugary candy will increase your risk of decay.

Is Chocolate Good or Bad for Teeth?

When it comes to chocolate, it depends on the cacoa content! The best type of chocolate is dark chocolate with a cacao percentage of at least 70%. This means the chocolate contains beneficial antioxidants and flavanols naturally present in cacao beans. Flavanols are plant compounds that provide anti-inflammatory and immune benefits. Research is growing that eating modest amounts of dark chocolate may also improve blood pressure and heart health.

In contrast, white chocolate and milk chocolate do not provide the same health benefits as dark chocolate. And these chocolate varieties contain more sugar, thereby increasing your risk of decay more so than dark chocolate. However, they are still the lesser of two evils when compared to many other types of candy that are sticky and slow-dissolving, such as chewy caramel, taffy, lollipops, jawbreakers, sugary gum, gummy bears, gummy worms, and sour candy.

What to Do If You Have a Cavity

If you feel extreme pain or sensitivity around a tooth, it might mean that you have a untreated cavity! Don’t ignore your tooth pain. Our team at Heritage Dental can provide you with quick and professional emergency care to get your oral health back on track.

Gentle Dental Care in Katy, TX

Twice-yearly preventive cleanings and checkups with our family dentist in Katy, TX, can help protect you from oral health issues, like cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. For those of you who are nervous to be at the dentist, know that we offer several dental sedation options, which can keep you calm and relaxed throughout your visit with us. We hope to see you soon. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment!

Can Teeth Whitening Damage Gums?

Bald man smiles in a dental chair before receiving professional teeth whitening in Katy, TX

Looking for a safe and effective way to transform your smile? Consider our ZOOM!® Whitening Deep Bleaching system! Not only does a whiter smile take years off your appearance, it can boost your confidence. Professional teeth whitening can give you the encouragement you need to show off your smile.

Before committing to professional teeth whitening, many patients have lots of questions. They want to know what kind of results they can expect, how long the process takes, and whether there are any safety concerns. We love when patients ask questions because it shows they are concerned about their oral health. Today, we want to focus on safety concerns around whitening teeth.

About Our ZOOM! Whitening

Our ZOOM! Whitening Deep Bleaching system utilizes professional-grade products to deliver first-rate results. We create custom take-home trays that fit perfectly around your teeth to ensure each tooth remains in contact with the bleaching gel. In as little as two weeks, this system lightens your teeth from the inside-out to address stubborn intrinsic and extrinsic stains.

Can Whitening Hurt Your Gums?

Some whitening systems, particularly over-the-counter whitening products, can irritate your gums, while giving subpar whitening results. Ill-fitting whitening trays and strips allow for saliva dilution and gel leakage. And do-it-yourself whitening treatments often involve risky ingredients, such as lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide, that aren’t safe when used in the way some “recipes” direct.

How to Prevent Gum Irritation From Teeth Whitening

Our ZOOM! Whitening take-home trays have been professional developed for your unique needs. Professional teeth whitening at Heritage Dental eliminates your risk of developing gum irritation due to teeth whitening. Throughout the whitening process, our team is here to ensure your health, comfort, and safety.

Safe Teeth Whitening in Katy, TX

Be sure to check out our patient specials. Moreover, we offer several payment options so you can achieve the smile of your dreams. To ask our team any additional questions about teeth whitening and how to keep your gums safe, or if you’re interested in learning about our other cosmetic dental services, contact us today!

Should I Get Invisalign or Braces?

Closeup of a woman with red lipstick putting on her Invisalign trays

Are you looking to straighten your teeth? You’re likely considering Invisalign® or braces. Here, we’ll explain how they compare to help you know if Invisalign or braces is better for your unique situation.

Invisalign 101

This straightening method uses clear plastic trays that fit over your teeth to gradually move them into proper alignment. Invisalign can correct mild to moderate misalignment issues.

Invisalign aligners are removable. You take them out when you eat, drink anything other than water, brush and floss, and get your teeth cleaned at the dentist. You can also take them out for a special occasion, an interview, or a date. However, it’s best to remove them only when necessary. You need to wear your aligners at least 20-22 hours each day for your treatment to be as efficient as possible.

Every couple weeks you will switch out the aligners for a new set to continue your teeth’s progression. While you may feel some pressure when you switch out your new aligners, it won’t be painful.

Braces 101

Traditional braces can fix even the most complex alignment issues. These include mild to severe underbites, overbites, crowding, gaps, mismatched midlines (when the middle of your lower and upper teeth don’t line up), open bites (when there’s a gap between the top and bottom teeth when the mouth is closed), and more!

Typical braces are made of wires that are connected to either metal or ceramic brackets. These brackets are little squares adhered to your teeth for the entirety of your orthodontic treatment. The wires apply pressure to the brackets, gradually moving your teeth into proper alignment. Treatment can look different from one patient to the next. Some patients need two phases of braces or additional tools like a palate expander or rubber bands attached in various patterns to make their treatment more successful.

Every several weeks the wires will need to be adjusted and tightened so that they continue to move your teeth into the right position. Your teeth and mouth may feel more sensitive around this time. Orthodontic wax will help ease any mouth irritation.

Invisalign or Braces?

Whether Invisalign or braces is the right option for you depends on your alignment needs and lifestyle.

Although Invisalign is discreet and allows for simple cleaning of your teeth, the trays cannot fix all alignment issues, can be lost or forgotten, and require daily maintenance to prevent warping and discoloration. Though a good denture cleaner or Retainer Brite® can make cleaning simple. Additionally, some patients report the near constant wear time aids in their weight loss goals.

Braces can tackle complex alignment issues, but the brackets are more noticeable, can irritate your mouth, require meticulous cleaning, and preclude the eating of certain foods. Many patients with braces find oral hygiene easier with an electric toothbrush, interdental brushes, floss threaders, and a water flosser.

Schedule Your Consultation for Invisalign in Katy, TX

Our expert team can help you decide if Invisalign clear aligner therapy is the right solution to your misalignment. We’d be thrilled to have you visit our dental office in Katy, TX, for a consultation. Contact us today!

How to Help Kids with Dental Anxiety

Young boy in a blue and white striped shirt laughs after conquering his dental anxiety at Heritage Dental in Katy, TX

Many kids (and adults!) struggle with fear and anxiety leading up to their biannual dental visits. If your child experiences dental anxiety, we’ve got some tips for you:

1. Meet-and-Greet

Familiarity helps us feel less anxious. If your child is going to be seeing a new dentist, schedule a time to visit the office together before the appointment. This introductory visit allows your child to meet their new dentist and smile team, and familiarize themselves with the office. Your child will feel more comfortable when it comes time for their actual appointment since some of the “unknown” and “newness” of the situation will be diminished.

2. Be Positive

Stay positive when it comes to talking about the dentist. Frame their visit as something they can look forward to. It may help to couple a dental appointment with a special reward afterward, like a trip to the park or the movies. Let them know why they are going (and that you regularly visit the dentist too!), what they can expect, and how they will benefit from their visit. Be encouraging and consider avoiding trigger words, such as pain, uncomfortable, fear, and needles.

3. Make Dental Care Fun

Be proactive and encouraging about dental care at home. If kids understand the importance of at-home dental care and see it as a fundamental aspect of their daily routine, they’ll be more likely to think their dental visits are also important. Little rewards and incentives, like a sticker chart, are one way to do this, or try playing music or a short video while your child brushes and flosses.

4. Choose Our Kid-Friendly Dentist at Heritage Dental in Katy, TX

We also recommend taking your child to a family dentist that has experience working with kids. At Heritage Dental in Katy, TX, we are proud to treat patients of all ages. We understand the unique needs of children and do all we can to help them feel safe and comfortable. Families love our dental sedation options and patient amenities. We have complimentary drinks and snacks in our lobby, TVs with Netflix® in our treatment rooms, and comfy pillows and blankets. Contact us today to schedule visits for your entire family!

5 Tips for Beating Bad Breath

Brunette woman in a tan dress smiles after beating her bad breath with the help of the team at Heritage Dental

Success in our interactions with others requires a certain level of self-confidence. This is true whether you’re on a date, at a neighborhood barbecue, chatting with friends at a social gathering, or working on a task with your employer, employees, or colleagues. In nearly every situation, having bad breath can inhibit your confidence and quality of life, making these interactions more stressful than enjoyable.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to ensure your breath is fresh instead of foul. Here are just a few tips to follow:

1. Maintain Your Daily Dental Hygiene

Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time. Be sure to brush your tongue too! Floss every day. These critical hygiene steps will help reduce your mouth’s amount of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, that causes bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.

2. Rinse with an Alcohol-Free Antibacterial Mouthwash

Rinsing your mouth after brushing can help rid your mouth of bacteria and keep it fresh. Choose an alcohol-free mouthwash with antibacterial properties.

3. Stay Hydrated

Drinking water rinses the mouth of food particles and bacteria. Additionally, water is necessary for the production of saliva, which aids in enamel remineralization and combats tooth decay, dry mouth, and bad breath.

4. Stop Smoking

If you smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products, it’s time to quit. These habits wreak havoc on your oral health. Not only does tobacco cause bad breath and malodor, it increases your risk for oral cancer and is dangerous to your overall health.

5. Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum for at least 20 minutes after eating freshens breath and helps clean teeth. However, keep in mind that chewing gum isn’t a substitute for daily brushing and flossing, but supplemental.

Consult with Heritage Dental About Your Bad Breath

If you’re insecure about bad breath, let us know. We may find that the problem is deeper than daily practices can help. For example, a cavity or abscess can create malodor, or advanced gum disease. Whatever your situation, we can help come with up a treatment plan to get your oral health back on track. So contact us today to schedule your next appointment at our dental office in Katy, TX.